It was apparent from the second the San Francisco 49ers acquired Jimmy Garoppolo that they weren't worried about having to pay him big money -- and it seems they're anticipating Garoppolo likely will play under the franchise tag in 2018.
Speaking on the KNBR-AM Tolbert and Lund Podcast earlier this week, 49ers coach Kyle Shanahan indicated that signing Garoppolo to the tag likely makes the most sense and it wouldn't be "that big of a deal to us."
"It would be great if it could work out that way [a long-term contract], but that's just not the situation any of us are in," Shanahan said, per Eric Branch of the San Francisco Chronicle. "So you want to play it out. That is the good thing about the franchise tag and that's what, to me, made it an easier decision to trade for him at the time we did..."
It's logical Shanahan and the 49ers wouldn't think twice about shelling out the roughly $25 million it'll take for Garoppolo to play under the one-year tag. It might seem like a hefty price for a quarterback with only two NFL starts, but the 49ers have plenty of salary-cap space (roughly $60 million, per Spotrac) to take out a one-year financial flyer on Garoppolo -- even if he doesn't turn out to be the next Joe Montana or Steve Young.
Shanahan explained the team's mind set about how it approached Garoppolo's contact situation when they traded for him:
"That's what's cool about having something like [the franchise tag]: Hey, all right, I would love to have a guy like that, especially for only a second-round pick. Definitely. Do we have to make a decision this fast for the future in terms of a long-term deal and everything? No, you don't. If you do, and it works out, and you feel great about it, that's awesome. But if not, that's why the rules are the way they are."
It's anyone's guess as to whether Garoppolo will see any playing time this season as he continues to acclimate to Shanahan's offensive system. C.J. Beathard remains the 49ers' starter for now and it'll be interesting to see what he might be able to accomplish against a battered Seahawks secondary on Sunday.
For now, Shanahan doesn't seem in any rush to have Garoppolo prove something. Shanahan isn't interested in over-reving his new offensive muscle car in hopes of figuring out if he's worthy of a long-term contract, a franchise tag or (gasp!) is a QB lemon.
"It's not something where you want to put all this pressure on him, on the organization, on the players around him where it's like, 'Hey, we're going to get this deal done, this long-term deal, you've got six games to prove it. You better go out there and do it or you won't get what you think you're worth,'" Shanahan said. "That's not right to me for us. That's not right for him."